39 Things You Forgot to Budget For


You’re all moved in and ready to start life in your new home, but before you kick your feet up and claim victory, take a quick look around. You might be missing a few things.

Do not be alarmed. It happens to every new homeowner because, well, you don’t know what you don’t know. Once you’ve unpacked everything and the dust has settled, you realize that you don’t actually have anything to clean up all that dust…so grab a chair and a pen. It’s time to make a list of the items you forgot to budget for.

It’s the Inside that Counts

The items that pop up initially tend to center on the interior of the home. Once you start living in your brand new space, you quickly discover everyday home maintenance items that you simply don’t have – like a duster with an extendable arm. Then, after a few weeks of using your new bathroom, you undoubtedly find need for a plunger and a drain snake…and when you go to pry the stopper from the drain, you realize you don’t have a tool chest or any of the tools that belong inside of it.

This will be your first run to the hardware store. While you’re there, you might as well grab some trash cans, a decent vacuum, a mop, and extra light bulbs. For those with basements or any other potential water issues, a dehumidifier is a necessity, as well. When the nice cashier asks if you are interested in their store credit card, just say “yes” because this is only the beginning.

Now, Let’s Take This Outside

The inside is coming along nicely now, so you head outside to start tackling the years of yard work ahead. It’s time to get that pen out again. Depending on the size of your outdoor space, you’ll want to add items like a rake, ladder, lawn mower, garden hoses and nozzles. For those with more acreage, landscaping and/or trees, you might also require hedge trimmers, a chainsaw, a weed whip or wheel barrow - maybe even a power washer. Don’t forget to pick up some small gas cans, as well, and a permanent marker to label them for each of your new garden toys. Those in northern climates need just a bit more as a snow blower, snow shovel and safety salt pellets will all come in handy come November.

And We’re Going to Need a Safety Plan

Inside. Check.

Outside. Check.

Back inside now to assess any significant safety concerns. The biggest items in this area will be smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms, along with corresponding batteries because no one wants to fall asleep to the chirp of a dying smoke alarm. You’ll also want to make sure you have the appropriate amount of fire extinguishers for your specific property.

Need another layer of protection? A home security system might be a consideration. There are so many choices nowadays including monitored and local options - and for the millennials-at-heart who think regular thermostats are so 1999, snag a Google Nest as they can now incorporate home security into the overall system.

But It’s Really All About the Looks, Isn’t It?

You’ve covered both home and lawn maintenance as well as safety and security, so all that’s left is what really counts – the overall aesthetic. With your old furniture situated throughout the new space, you find that the quirky antique desk lamp you thought looked just perfect in your last place doesn’t really fit in the new house. You’ll find that the light fixtures and ceiling fans you were so sure you could live with are slowly driving you insane. The paisley shower curtain in the downstairs bathroom really clashes with the tile floor, and the shower rod falls down each time you pull the mismatched curtain back. And that shower head? It takes 27 minutes to rinse the shampoo from your hair, and nobody has time for that! Not to mention the rugs, end tables, window treatments and all manner of wall décor that you have yet to purchase to make your home finally feel just right, to make it feel like you.

But it will all feel like you eventually, so don’t fret! You will get there. Every new homeowner does (after a couple years of hiccups, missing necessities, and countless trips to that hardware store – aren’t you so glad you signed up for their credit card?). It really just takes some time – and some money, money that you didn’t quite budget for because you don’t know what you don’t know, but now you know.


by Ashley Wirgau for Ruoff Home Mortgage's blog.  Click here to read more.